In response to the call to serve our neighbors, the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego (EDSD) dedicated June as a month of service, focusing specifically on our ministries with migrants and refugees. EDSD galvanized the spirit of compassion and service within various congregations, serving as a beacon of hope and aid to migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees.
The Epistle to the Hebrews reminds us, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2). In embracing this call, participating communities put into action their commitment to love and serve our neighbors, regardless of where they come from.
Participation was extensive, reaching across numerous congregations in the diocese. Good Samaritan in UTC, St. Dunstan’s in Del Cerro, Christ the King in Alpine, St. Paul’s Cathedral, St. John’s in Fallbrook, St. Mathew’s in National City, and Sts. Peter & Paul in El Centro were among the congregations that played instrumental roles. Donations came in various forms, from non-perishable canned goods, water, snacks, hygiene items, clothing, blankets, tarps, and even solar cell phone chargers. These items made a significant difference to many, including farm workers in Fallbrook, migrants in Mexicali, and farm workers in El Centro.
Beyond material support, congregations also offered education and guidance about the asylum process, exemplified by Robert Vivar, EDSD’s Migration Missioner, who conducted talks at places like St. John’s in Chula Vista, Christ Church in Coronado, Good Samaritan UTC, and St. Pauls Cathedral. Robert knows that education is crucial for congregations that are newly engaging with migrant issues.
While donations of goods, resources, and time are vital, a number of congregations have gone steps further, embedding the spirit of service within their very foundation. They have served as cultural and community centers for migrants, providing more than just necessities – but a space for renewal, strength, fellowship, and solidarity.
The June Month of Service showed the continued engagement of congregations that consistently live in solidarity with immigrants and refugees, such as St. Luke’s in North Park with Refugee Net and St. Alban’s in El Cajon through the Welcome Ministry of East County. St. David’s in Clairemont routinely supports St. Luke’s Food Pantry, serving many immigrants in their area. St. Margaret’s in Palm Desert also continued their robust support for a shelter in Mexicali, St. James in La Jolla, supports several immigration-related projects, and St. John’s in Fallbrook has a long-lasting relationship of service to local farmworks. These examples show that this ministry goes well beyond a single month of service, highlighting an ongoing commitment to serving our neighbors.
The June Month of Service is an example of how the Christian call of hospitality can be put into action. The collective efforts to volunteer, give, donate necessary materials, and join in educational opportunities have made a lasting impact on the lives of those in distress, proving that through serving, some have entertained angels without knowing it.
You can continue to serve your neighbor by visiting www.edsd.org/migration-ministry to find out more ways you can give, participate, or learn about the plight of migrants.
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